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My name is Chia Yin. I am a Taiwanese. We usually have two names in this generation: one Chinese, one English. I don't know why.

For my English class, my teacher asked me my English name, I don't really have one, but I have a nickname, "Tweety", same as a cartoon character. Some of my friends still call me "Tweety". But my teacher said it isn't suitable for work, like business meeting or other important situations. Is that true? I know some of people who named themselves some weird or ridiculous English name. I don't want be like that; I need some suggestions....

If I had a new name, I will need time to get used to it.

The English teacher gave some name to choose from: Jacqueline, Jane, and Jolin. They sound more like my Chinese name.

For me, I prefer my nickname "Tweety". I already got used to it, and I feel more comfortable with it than other names.

But if it's not okay as a name, I will try to change it...

  • 3
    It's uncommon, but it's a cute name. – snailboat Oct 10 '14 at 19:02
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    I think the problem is that “Tweety” sounds like a nickname, which may not be what you want on a C.V. or in some other formal/professional situation. Even if it didn’t seem a bit cutesy, it will cause many people to ask “what’s your real name?” or wonder why you are not using your legal name in a formal/professional setting. – Tyler James Young Oct 10 '14 at 19:36
  • "Tweety" is used as a pseudonym in the 1988 movie "Heathers". – Hao Ye Oct 10 '14 at 20:15
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    What is the status of one's English name in your context? Is it somehow official or permanent, or can you easily change it later? If it is essentially just something that you are calling yourself informally now, then I don't see much importance in the choice. But if it will somehow stick with you for a long time, or if it is important even now (when you are young), to have a name that does not sound like a nickname, then think twice about calling yourself Tweety. (For what it's worth, I hope you can call yourself Tweety now and change it to whatever you like later.) – Drew Oct 10 '14 at 21:59
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    Would workplace.stackexchange.com be a better site for this question? – The Photon Oct 11 '14 at 5:31
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A name like Tweety can be a problem when you start your career. It is a suitable nickname for friends, but it could cause some business people to take you less seriously than if you used a more common name because they will think of the silly cartoon character when they see your name. I think that your teacher is giving you good advice, and that a less cute name would make things easier. On the other hand, if you really identify with Tweety and wish to keep it, it's not something that will keep you from succeeding, it will just make it a little more difficult.

Have you thought about using an English phonetic spelling of your Chinese name? Many of the people I work with in the US don't have typical English names. They may have simplified the spelling of their name to make it easier for an English speaker to pronounce correctly, but there is no problem with them using something similar to their name in their native language.

  • Yes I thought about it actually,But just like Jasper said, the English phonetic spelling of my Chinese name it doesn't really okay... soubds like food, tea or pet :p – Tweety ko Oct 11 '14 at 10:01
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Having visited Taiwan, having taught and tutored ESL in Taiwan, having associates in Taiwan, I would encourage you not to choose "Tweety" as your English name. In your competitive society, having a name like Tweety is not going to do you any favors (work to your advantage).

You can choose another English name that is not associated with a cartoon character. Your teacher is giving you good advice. Jacqueline is a beautiful name. If you find it hard to use or pronounce, Jane is great! Jolin is okay; an issue with Jolin is that if you told Westerners your English name was Jolin, they might blink and ask you to repeat it, because Jolin is not a common name.

Of course, many other names are possible. I know, and I am sure you know, Taiwanese students whose English names do not sound like their Chinese names.

The good news is that you can choose another name, and you can still ask your friends and even your family to call you Tweety as a nickname.

  • 1
    "Jolin is not a common name". The similar-sounding "Jolene" would be well known, although probably more for the Dolly Parton song than anything else :-) – Steve Jessop Oct 12 '14 at 14:51
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    @Steve Jessop My sense of Jolene is that it would be (more?) instantaneously recognizable as a name as compared to Jolin. What this is due to escapes me at the moment. Perhaps it's the song, but I haven't heard it in decades. Is it that memorable? lol Are other factors at play? I can't say I've ever met a Jolene, I know I've never met a Jolin. – user6951 Oct 12 '14 at 18:29
  • As a native Brit this is my first time seeing the word Jolin, much less knowing (of) anyone with that name. – Chris Petheram Jul 10 '17 at 15:28
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I agree with your teacher. "Tweety" is not a good choice for a professional name.

The name is very closely associated with a cartoon character, PLUS it sounds very informal. It uses the word "tweet", which means the sound that birds make, followed by the ending "-y", which typically means "little" or "suitable for a child". So this is a doubly-belittling name to be called by.

To me, it sounds like an acceptable nickname for a small child, maybe even for a young man to call his girlfriend. But the name just screams "I am a helpless child!" to me.

If you think the name is cute and like your friends calling you this, by all means you could keep it as a nickname. But I'd choose something else for a professional name.

It's irrational, but people often leap to conclusions about others based on their names. If I hear the name "Bruno" I immediately think of someone big and tough. "Poindexter" and I think of a nerdy chemist. Etc. I have a very hard time imagining someone saying, "And the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for physics is ... Tweety!" Few people have the opportunity to pick their own name. I'd pick one that will work for you.

Here in the U.S., most Chinese people that I've known take very common English names as their "American name", like "Amy" and "Bob".

  • Nitpick--the "-y" ending does not mean "'little' or 'suitable for a child'", as evidenced by your own example of a typical female American name, "Amy". – Kyle Strand Oct 10 '14 at 22:32
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    Or, you know, "Jay". But I think his point was for action+"y": sneezy, laughy, blinky, thinky... they all sound childish to me. – Mooing Duck Oct 10 '14 at 23:18
  • Maybe they sound childish because half of those words are not real words. I've used "sneezy" and "blinky" in a business setting. I counted over 40,000 English words (from /usr/dict/words, some are pronouns) that end in "y", few sound childish. – Johnny Oct 11 '14 at 1:26
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    @KyleStrand: Amy is not "Am"+"-y"; it's just a name by itself. I'm pretty sure Jay was talking about adding "-y" to the end of a word. – R.. Oct 12 '14 at 17:11
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    According to etymonline.com, "Amy" comes from the French "Amee" meaning "beloved", i.e. it's a name on its own, not a short form of Amelia. I could see someone named Amelia using Amy as a short form, but there are plenty of people whose birth certificates give their legal name as "Amy". – Jay Oct 14 '14 at 14:15
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Here in the UK, we don't expect Chinese-speakers should have an English name (although of course we know that many do). Therefore, if you said "my name is Tweety" but we knew you had a Chinese name, then I think we'd usually treat Tweety as a nickname and Chia Yin as your "real name". "Tweety" might raise eyebrows or attract a few comments, but ultimately nobody cares what your name is and they're more likely to be pleasantly surprised than to be confused or think of it as unprofessional. Then again, most people here in the UK don't choose their own name, they stick with what their parents gave them or a common variant ("Steve" being short for "Stephen" in my case), so we try not to judge people by their names too much.

So from an English-speaking perspective, if you were in the UK, I'd say there's no problem at all with putting "Chia Yin" on business cards and job applications, and then asking people to call you Tweety once you're on first-name terms.

Of course, you're not in the UK, and the tradition of having an English name is much stronger in other places. If choosing your English name is considered part of how you present yourself in a business context, then I'd agree with others that in English Tweety will be associated almost entirely with the cartoon character, so that's how you're choosing to present yourself.

So yes, it's unusual and it might well seem ridiculous to some people at first. If you need a "normal-sounding" English name for business purposes, then Tweety isn't it -- that's a matter of (lack of) common use. It's a matter of business opinion whether your English name needs to be "normal-sounding" or not, but if you're in Taiwan and your teacher is Taiwanese, then presumably there's something behind that advice. You should probably consider what the conventions are for Taiwanese business more than what they are in English-speaking countries, because the most important people judging your English name might well not be native English speakers anyway.

There's no reason you can't continue to use Tweety as a nickname and also have an English name and your Chinese name. Then you're free to decide whether to introduce yourself to colleagues using your nickname or not, once you have your own business experience to draw on. If you choose not to, there's a lot to be said for having a separate "business mode" and "casual mode". I've known English people who use different names at work from with their friends. It's not the norm, and it might make people think a little harder when those worlds collide, but it's nothing people can't deal with.

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Tweety is a nice name. Since you like it, and you understand its English connotations, I think you should keep it.

As you already know about the Looney Tunes character, you are already familiar with "Tweety"'s connotations in English.

Tweety is a natural variation on "Chia" -- some people's pronunciations of "Tw" and "Ch" are similar, and most Americans pronounce "ee" and the "i" in Chia identically.

Some other English names that are similar to "Chia" include:

Gina

Jeanne

Jeannie

"Chia" itself might not be a good choice, because it will remind many Americans of "Chia pets". "Ch-Ch-Chia pets" are small ceramic flower-pot-like things (usually shaped like animals) that come with seeds that are ready to sprout into the "animal"'s "fur".

Having a nickname that reminds people of a cute or friendly cartoon character can actually be an advantage. My nickname reminds many people of "Casper the friendly ghost", another cartoon character. When people tell me this, I smile or laugh, and sometimes tell them a story about it. It helps them remember my name, and gives us a pleasant memory to share.

  • Jasper rhymes with Casper. But it is not Casper. That is a big difference. In addition, Casper (unlike Tweety) is a real name that Westerners name their children. – user6951 Oct 10 '14 at 19:49
  • Roughly 4,000 years ago, Casper and Jasper were the same name. – Jasper Oct 10 '14 at 19:53
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    It also depends on what career path you're on. In sales, a memorable name could be an advantage. My experience when I was a young woman in Engineering was that you had to leave cute at the door to the office. Both men and women gave more weight to my technical opinions than those of a co-worker who was just as talented as I, but who was almost universally described as "cute" or "adorable" because of her name, the way she spoke, and the way she dressed. It's not fair, but it is a reality. I was promoted much sooner than she was. – ColleenV Oct 10 '14 at 20:14
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    @Colleen +1 Life is rarely fair. I think happiness would befall more people if they just accepted that fact instead of constantly expecting the world to treat them fairly. – Aaron Hawkins Oct 10 '14 at 20:26
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I also agree with your teacher. "Tweety" is not a good choice for a professional name unless you intend to be a professional killer like bambi or thumper from a James Bond movie http://www.jamesbondwiki.com/page/Bambi+and+Thumper?t=anon. Keep it as your nickname and pick a real English or French or Spanish or Taiwanese good name.

0

The original question was CAN Tweety be used, and the answer is yes, legally it CAN be used. If Chia Yin was wondering whether the name is usable, yes, it is.

Responses here have shifted to WHETHER IT IS A GOOD IDEA to use Tweety. People have intended well to generally warn against the name; probably the first person to question it (who would "raise his eyebrows," we would say) would be the records clerk; and that reaction would never cease thereafter.

Fictitious characters' names are not necessarily bad, but they usually emphasize or exaggerate status and dominance. Rambo is dominant; Tweety is eternally would-be prey. At best, Tweety is a passive-aggressive manipulator.

There is the valid question of changing the world, and in a vastly less vicious, defensive, and uptight world, you could have Mr. Pansy and Mr. Pinky and people would accept those. At the moment, marketing icons rule, as we live in oligarchies in which the symbol is more forceful than the truth.

  • 4
    Actually, the question was "is it suitable?". – ColleenV Oct 11 '14 at 0:15
  • @ColleenV Indeed. It's confusing when the title is a subtly different question from the one in the question body; I've edited the title. – David Richerby Oct 11 '14 at 9:53
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As others have said, using the very recognizable name of a cartoon character as your "official" English name is likely to cause problems in the long run. Perhaps a better option would be to choose an "official" name which is similar to "Tweety", and then continue to use "Tweety" as a nickname. The only name I can come up with is "Twyla" or the less common spelling, "Twila". (If you chose the latter form, you could easily change "Tweety" to be spelled "Twiti" or perhaps "Twiitii" or something like that, just to make it different from the cartoon character :-).

Best of luck.

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How about "Kea"? It's a fairly unusual name derived from Hawaiian, and usable for girls and boys. It's not especially far away from "Chia".

As a bonus, this fellow is a Kea:

Nestor notabilis

He looks tweety, doesn't he?

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